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Stream spruce-up

A small team of eleven volunteers had a productive afternoon on Sunday, spreading bark around native plants on the Grey Street Skate Park bank of Waikanae Stream.

Organising team member Jason Akuhata-Brown acknowledged that October is a busy month and he was delighted that the group was able to spread a truckload of mulch around the native plants.

“We’re grateful to Roberts Tree Surgeons who kindly donated two loads of bark to the project,” Mr Akuhata-Brown said.

“Our group spread one of the loads into the shrubbery and we’re working on getting the other load distributed among the plants in the near future.

“We know this is a busy time of year but with Covid-19 restrictions and other diversions, this has been our first chance to organise a public workday since last October. We were very happy to get such a good team of workers,” he said.

“A disappointing aspect was the amount of litter we found, mostly drink bottles and food wrappers.

“Overall there has been a big reduction of rubbish compared to our first stream clean nine years ago.

“Recently there has been an increase of litter along the planted area, possibly linked to Covid-19 restricting contractor cleaning and the impact of school holidays.

“We have been fortunate to have small groups coming in and getting weeds under control. Our main aim was to put mulch down to help the plants get through summer.

“It is great to see how well the shrubs and trees are maturing and shading out most weeds, except for kikuyu.

“Younger plants were being strangled until our volunteers released them and we expect to give them more protection when we spread the rest of the mulch,” Mr Akuhata-Brown said.

In 2021, the project will mark the 10th year of commitment to clean up and re-vegetate the banks of Waikanae Stream.

Organisers hope to mark the anniversary in ways that acknowledge the history and ecology of the awa (stream) as well as celebrate the contributions of a decade of volunteer mahi and koha.

SPRING CLEAN: Volunteers helped tidy up the Waikanae Stream on Sunday. From left are Cyril Payn, Meredith Akuhata-Brown, Anna Barber, Lesley Hawkins, Jill Hudson, Ruth Newton, Mark Lewis, Waimaria Houia and John Hudson. Picture by Jason Akuhata-Brown